News / Middle East

    Slow Progress in IAEA Probe May Complicate Iran Nuclear Talks

    FILE - The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran
    FILE - The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran
    Reuters
    Signs that a U.N. watchdog investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Iran is making little progress could further complicate broader diplomacy on ending the decade-old nuclear dispute that resumes in Vienna on Tuesday.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated late on Monday, after a three-hour meeting with Iran, that more work was needed by the country in order to fully implement a series of nuclear transparency steps by a Thursday deadline.

    The IAEA also made clear that no agreement had yet been reached with Iran on what issues to tackle in the next phase of a cooperation pact aimed at allaying fears that Tehran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

    The outcome is likely to disappoint Western diplomats, who want Iran to move much faster in addressing the IAEA's questions about alleged activities that could be relevant for any bid to build a nuclear missile. Iran denies any such work.

    "Everybody is fairly frustrated at the lack of progress," said one envoy who closely follows the Iran nuclear file.

    The meeting took place a day before Iran and six world powers were due to start a new round of negotiations, also in the Austrian capital, aimed at reaching a final settlement of the standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions by late July.

    Iran has offered to work with the IAEA in clarifying what the U.N. agency calls the possible military dimensions (PMD) of the country's nuclear program. But diplomats and experts say it would be difficult for Iran to admit to any past activity
    contradicting its denials of allegations of a bomb agenda.

    "Iran has real problems in addressing the PMD issues," said the Western diplomat, who is not from one of the six major powers negotiating with Iran - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia.

    There was no immediate comment from Tehran.

    Iran's talks with the IAEA and with the powers are closely linked as both focus on fears that Iran may be covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its uranium enrichment program is a peaceful energy project only.

    Western diplomats say Iran must start engaging with the IAEA's long-stalled investigation and that this is central to the success of the broader negotiations.
     
    West and Iran far apart

    Under the cooperation agreement signed with the IAEA in November, Iran was to take seven practical measures by May 15 in a phased process to shed more light on its atomic activities.

    Diplomatic sources told Reuters last Friday that the IAEA was seeking further clarification from Iran about the most sensitive of those steps, concerning fast-acting detonators that can have both military and civilian applications.

    How Iran responds to questions about its development and need of this type of equipment is seen as an important test of its willingness to cooperate fully with the IAEA investigation.

    Iran says it has already implemented the seven steps - including access to two uranium sites - but the sources said the IAEA still wanted more information about so-called Explosive Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators.

    They said the IAEA also wanted to agree with Iran new measures to be taken after May 15, hoping these will address other sensitive issues linked to its nuclear bomb inquiry.

    However, after Monday's apparently inconclusive meeting, the two sides did not even say when they would meet again.

    Iran wants an end to sanctions that are badly hurting its oil-reliant economy. After years of a vitriolic and confrontational standoff with the West, the election last year of pragmatist Hassan Rouhani as Iran's president created a new atmosphere more conducive to settling disputes via diplomacy.

    But diplomats and experts say Iran and the West remain far apart on what a long-term deal to resolve the dispute and dispel fears of a new Middle East war would look like.
    "It's typical for negotiations to experience bumps, blocks and breakdowns," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think-tank.

    In the Iran-IAEA talks, "the Iranian negotiators have to be wary of appearing to be too cooperative, lest they be accused back home of giving in," Fitzpatrick said.

    You May Like

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora